Library Orientation

Although our Reading Room is currently closed due to a major building renovation project, researchers can still take advantage of our available reference services

Reading room hours

Monday through Friday
8:45am - 4:45pm 

9am - noon and 
1 -  4:30 pm

On Saturdays, the reading room cannot page vault materials. If you will need vault materials on a Saturday, please submit the request in your reader account before Friday at 3pm.

Closed on Sundays and federal holidays

Please be advised that the final day for research in our Reading Rooms before construction begins is Saturday, January 4, 2020. Updates about how this work affects reseachers will be shared on our During Construction webpage, in the Research Bulletin (subscribe), and on Twitter @FolgerResearch.

Using the reading room

In order to use the reading room, you must first apply to become a reader

Please wear your Folger-issued ID identifying you as a researcher at all times while in the Library. You will also use it to scan in and out of the reading room.

Computers, phones, cameras (all silenced), pencils and notebooks are all welcome in the reading rooms. Clear plastic bags are available in the cloakroom and registration desk for the things you wish to bring in with you.

Coats, briefcases, bags, newspapers, outerwear, and purses larger than 5 x 9 x 2 inches (12.5 x 23 x 5 cm) can be stored in our cloakroom which includes lockers for bags. They are not permitted in the reading room nor are pens, markers, food, water, or anything that might be adhesive. 

Reading Room Policies

Finding materials at the Folger

The Folger's collections are in two main sections:  

Open Stacks (Modern) Books
Modern printed books (published 1831 and later) are arranged by Library of Congress call numbers on open stacks located on Deck B, and will be listed in our online catalog Hamnet.

Once you've found your book, please charge it out at one of the circulation desks. You may charge out as many modern books as you need for use at your desk. We will be happy to hold them aside for you for the length of your visit. You may not remove any material from the Library. 

Vault (Rare) Materials
Many of our rare books (pre-1831), manuscripts, art, and special collection materials are discoverable in Hamnet, particularly for books published in England. If you are working with Continental materials, you may also need to consult our card catalogs (yes, we still have them!).

Once you have the call numbers of rare materials you wish to consult, please submit your requests through your reader account, using the links in Hamnet and the Finding Aids database, or with a blank request form created from within your reader account. While you may work with a maximum of six items at a time, you may request as many items as you need.

Retrieval time for rare materials is usually 30–60 minutes, so please plan accordingly.

Guidelines for using Folger materials

Before beginning your research, please review the following information in Folgerpedia:

Guidelines for Using the Collections
General information about use of the reading room.

Handling Vault Material
Ensuring that you handle our vault materials safely will help us ensure that they are available for readers in the future.

Photography Guidelines
Cameras are allowed (and even encouraged!), but make sure you know the dos and don'ts of taking pictures of our collection materials.